The Extremely Ill-Advised Arrow Project: Episode 1.12 – “Vertigo”
|October 1, 2013||Posted by Jess under Comics, The Extremely Ill-Advised Arrow Project|
Night, the docks. Ollie chases a two-bit hood and manages to pin him by his sleeve with an arrow, dangling a few feet above the ground. “Come on, man, I’m just trying to make an honest living!” the guy protests. Ollie demands to know where the guy gets his Vertigo. The dealer says his supplier will kill him if he tells, but when Ollie nocks another arrow he shuts his eyes and says, “Okay! They call him the Count, that’s all I know!” When he opens his eyes, Ollie’s gone.
Arrowcave. Ollie gives Diggle the latest intel. “The Count? That’s worse than the Hood.” Touche, Diggle. One, two, two stupid codenames! Ollie’s in full-on intense crimefighting mode, but Diggle tells him to slow down; Thea’s hearing is in a few hours, and she’d rather have Ollie by her side than fighting drug dealers.
Queen Castle. Thea’s covering her head injury with makeup when Ollie walks in. “We should get going,” he says. “Judges don’t appreciate the value of being fashionably late.” She tells him she wishes Robert was there. “I’m here,” he says. Aw. Moira walks in and tells them it’s time to go.
At the courthouse, they have to push through a crowd of reporters, and Ollie holds Thea’s hand as they do. In the courtroom, we learn that Thea’s full name is “Thea Dearden Queen.” Aw. Laurel slips in to listen. The DA has offered probation, since Thea was two days shy of 18 during the accident, but the judge says that she’s no longer a minor, and that the ADA is just trying to avoid dealing with the Vertigo issue. “Ms. Queen,” he says, “like it or not, you are now the poster child for this menace. Maybe if people see that the Queen family can’t get away with using Vertigo, they’ll think twice before using it themselves. The plea arrangement is denied; this case will proceed to trial.”
Queen Castle. The lawyer says they can try for an interlocutory appeal, but it may not work. He leaves, and Moira promises Thea they’ll take care of this. “Like you promised Walter you’d always stay faithful to him?” she asks. “I feel better already.” She stalks off. Moira say the judge is just trying to make an example of someone. Ollie says it might not have to be Thea, and asks if Moira’s okay. “I’m not the one facing prison,” she says, and he leaves.
Flashback. Yao walks up to Ollie’s cage. “You’re working for them now?” Ollie says. “Why are you doing this to me? I thought we were friends, or…something.” He asks Yao to get him out, and Yao says he can’t. “Don’t you walk away from me!” Ollie shouts as Yao does just that. “I came back for you!”
Police station. Ollie walks in looking for “Detective Hall, I was told he works in Vice?” and is greeted with surprise by a pretty female cop. “McKenna Hall,” he realizes. They hug and he reminisces about a club she got them kicked out of back in the day. “Okay, in my defense, there was no sign that specifically said you had to keep your clothes on,” she replies.
She asks what brings him to the police station and he says he was hoping if she found the person selling Vertigo it’d take the heat off Thea. He mentions the Count, and she says they’ve known that much for months, then shows him the file on him, which he pockets when she’s not looking. He asks her to keep him in the loop. “I always loved how much you cared about your sister, but leave the policing to the police, okay?” she says.
Quentin walks over and asks what Ollie wanted. McKenna says he’s an old friend. Quentin sweats all over the camera. Sigh.
A warehouse. The drug dealer from the opener waits nervously. A guy in a peacoat struts in with two backup thugs. The drug dealer starts pleading with him, swearing he didn’t tell Ollie anything. “Oh, I know,” the peacoated guy, who is obviously the Count, says. “You can’t divulge secrets you don’t know. But examples must be made.” He jabs something into the dealer’s neck and tells him that Vertigo in its purest form targets the pain receptors in the brain. That sounds like a terrible drug. Also, the Count delivers every line like he thinks this is an audition for a remake of Velvet Goldmine, or maybe a dark, metaphorical Alice in Wonderland where he gets to play the Mad Hatter.
He hands the dealer, who is shaking and screaming, a gun with one bullet left (one, one bullet left! *thunder crashes*), and tells him he can either shoot the Count and take his revenge or shoot himself and end his pain. The dealer shoots himself. “The Hood, coming for me,” the Count says. “Interesting.”
Morning, Laurel’s apartment. She’s reading up on Thea’s case while bantering with Tommy when there’s a knock at the door. It’s Ollie, and there’s a moment of awkwardness with Tommy before Ollie asks Laurel to ask her father to use whatever influence he has with the judge on Thea’s behalf. That seems like a real long shot to me, but whatever. It seems like a long shot to Laurel, too, but she agrees.
And sure enough, Quentin’s first response is “Absolutely not.” He thinks it’s time someone in the Queen family suffered some consequences. “What about the Lance family?” Laurel asks. “A young girl acting out, engaging in reckless behavior, does that sound familiar?” She says Thea’s just like Sara was and that Quentin’s rose-tinted his memories of her: “I know she was arrested for shoplifting, and I know you made it go away.” Quentin says if Sara’d been in jail she wouldn’t have been on the boat, and Laurel says being on the boat was Sara’s choice and they can’t just blame Ollie. “When I look at Thea, I see Sara’s potential in her, and her flaws too. Yes, Thea made a mistake, but she’s been through a lot. She lost a father and a brother. She doesn’t need prison, she needs help.” Quentin agrees to make some calls.
The Bratva garage, day. Ollie tells Diggle to be cool, then greets Leonov and tells him he’s looking to get into “pharmaceuticals. I don’t mean aspirin.” Leonov suggests meth, but Ollie says he was thinking Vertigo, and was hoping Leonov could arrange a meeting with the seller. “He is difficult man, and he does not like new friends,” Leonov says. Ollie takes out the file he stole from the police station: “This is everything the police have on him. Tell him it’s a gift.”
Leonov says he’ll see what he can do, but he needs a favor from Ollie. The other Bratva guy in the room goes into the back and pulls out a terrified-looking man with a head wound. “What did he do?” Ollie asks. “Something I told him not to,” Leonov replies. “Kill this man for me and I will believe your interest in our organization is genuine.”
Ollie grabs the guy in a chokehold. “Oliver…” Diggle says warningly, and Ollie tells him to shut up. The guy goes limp and Ollie drops him; Bratva Guy #2 (one, two, two Bratva guys! *thunder*) checks his pulse and nods. “Spasiba,” Leonov says. “What are friends for?” Ollie replies.
Flashback. Yao drags Ollie away from the cages and over to a ring of men. Inside the circle, someone is fighting Deathstroke one on one, and getting the crap kicked out of him. Deathstroke looks at Fyers, who nods, and Deathstroke kills his opponent with a sword as the men cheer. Fyers asks if anyone else wants to try, and Yao shoves Ollie into the circle. “The point of these little gladiatorial distractions is to strengthen unit cohesion,” Fyers explains, because I guess a unit where half the guys are dead is way stronger? Unless they’re just killing prisoners. It’s not really clear. (And who are the other prisoners? Fyers said they “disposed of” all the inmates of the original prison.) He suggests that the newest recruit try his hand, and Yao steps into the circle with Ollie as Deathstroke steps out.
Present day. Diggle and Ollie are leaving the garage, Ollie with the rando’s body over his shoulder, which is kind of hilarious. Was Leonov like “Just drop this off somewhere on your way?” Diggle can’t believe Ollie killed him. Ollie puts him in the trunk, glances around, then touches the “dead” guy’s neck – and he jerks awake. “Whoa!” Diggle says. “That’s a neat trick, you gonna teach me that one day?” Ollie punches the guy to knock him back out and says “No.” It’s actually really well timed, in that I had to pause the episode because I was laughing so hard. (But also, I know concussions don’t “count” as injuries in superhero media or action media in general, but man, this guy has a lot of brain damage now.)
Diggle’s like “what the hell is wrong with you” and Ollie impatiently explains a) that they’re going to get this guy a new ID and get him out of town, and b) he’ll meet with the Count as himself so the Bratva doesn’t know he used them, then follow the Count to his hideout as the Hood. But, he assures Diggle, he’ll still need the help of his trusty bodyguard. “Fantastic,” Diggle says. “Looking forward to my new and exciting career as a drug dealer.” Diggle, let’s be best friends.
Inside, Leonov calls the Count: “He’s a captain and he has money. Are you interested?” Count: “Hmm. Let’s say…yes.” Well, that scene was pointless.
Queen Castle. Laurel tells Thea that Quentin got the judge to back down. “Your father hates me,” Thea says. “No, my father hates him,” Laurel says, nodding towards Ollie. “Look, nobody asked you to get involved,” Thea says rather nastily, and Ollie says he did. Laurel explains that the judge has agreed to 500 hours of community service (one, two, three, four, five, five hundred hours! *thunder*) and two years of probation (one, two…ah, you get it), provided someone act in loco parentis – that person being Laurel. Thea’s all “thanks but no thanks,” and when Ollie tells her she doesn’t have a choice she insists that she’s 18 and can make her own decisions, “so I decide not to be your ex-girlfriend’s office monkey.” Why does she hate Laurel all of a sudden? Uncomfortable, Laurel leaves.
Ollie turns on Thea and tells her she’s in real trouble and Laurel offered her a good deal. “I already have a mother,” Thea says sullenly. “So you’re gonna go to jail and it will ruin the rest of your life,” Ollie says. “No, I want to ruin Mom’s life,” Thea says. “She’s a liar and a cheat. I mean, deal with it, Ollie! You can pretend all you want to that she’s a saint, but I hate her and she betrayed Dad!” This motivation makes no sense. I seriously don’t buy that any sheltered kid would go to jail just to stick it to their parents.
Ollie’s just as skeptical, and as a last-ditch effort he tells Thea that Robert was the one who was unfaithful. He tells her about Robert’s deathbed confession and Thea says she doesn’t believe him, the storms off. Ollie turns to see that Moira’s overheard this last part of the conversation. “How dare you,” she says. Ollie says Thea’s old enough to know the truth.
Diggle walks in and Moira shakes her head and leaves. Diggle tells Ollie the Russians called, and the meeting with the Count is on for that night.
Night, some abandoned drug-dealy place in Starling City. “You know why they call him the Count?” Leonov asks. BECAUSE HE LIKES TO COUNT THINGS??? Leonov says that the Count tested Vertigo on the people he found on the streets: homeless, prostitutes, runaways. His injections left two marks on their necks like a vampire. THIS IS SO DUMB. (For those unfamiliar with the comic book character, he’s called Count Vertigo because he is an actual count who induces vertigo. It’s pretty straightforward. Like Deadshot, he’s a fairly dopey character who was made three-dimensional and seriously awesome in John Ostrander’s Suicide Squad. Arrow is plumbing the Suicide Squad well pretty deeply, between Deadshot, Count Vertigo, and Amanda Waller and Bronze Tiger showing up next season. I wish they were using this to spin off a Suicide Squad show rather than a Flash one. First of all, Suicide Squad works with the tone of Arrow way better than the Flash does, and second, I’d rather have a show with a black female lead than yet another bland blond white guy. They could even use Helena (um, and maybe recast her). IT WOULD BE SO GREAT.)
Anyway, the Count arrives and his henchmen pat Ollie and Diggle down. He thanks Ollie for the file, “but I’m not overly concerned about the SCPD.” I wish he could decide whether he has a British accent or not. Ollie says he wants his nightclub guests to have “a little something extra,” and the Count opens up a briefcase full of little baggies of pills as he waxes rhapsodic about all the people he killed “to perfect this high.” (It’s 56. One, two, three dead runaways! Four, five…you get the picture.)
Diggle hands over the cash and the Count hands over the briefcase. Suddenly, sirens blare. Everyone bolts. The lead police car pulls up and Quentin pops out, yelling for them to drop their weapons. A shootout ensues, and the Count and his henchman leg it while Ollie and Diggle are pinned down behind the Count’s van.
Ollie takes off after the Count. “Oliver!” Diggle yells. Poor Dig. Ollie punches out the henchman and grabs the Count, who jams a couple of needles into his chest. “No witnesses,” he says, and runs off. Ollie grimaces in pain.
Diggle runs for it as the remaining criminals get into the van and drive off. McKenna cuts them off with her own vehicle, shooting one of the bad guys as she does. “Get out of the car!” she commands.
Ollie yanks the needles from his chest. Diggle hoves into view, all blurry thanks to the drugs, and Ollie tells him to keep the syringes as Diggle half-helps, half-carries him away.
Arrowcave. Diggle dumps Ollie, now shirtless, on the table, where he writhes in pain while Diggle rummages through the Box o’ Vengeance for the anti-curare herbs. He hastily prepares the medicine, but when he brings it over, Ollie grabs his throat and he has to fight him off before pouring the crushed herbs down his throat. He holds Ollie down as he screams. I assume there’s a lot of fan fiction about this scene?
Flashback. I don’t think it’ll blow anyone’s mind if I tell you that Yao is kicking Ollie’s ass. He puts Ollie in the same chokehold Ollie used on the guy Leonov told him to kill, and Ollie slumps to the ground.
Present day. Ollie wakes up to find Diggle looking down at him. Where can I sign up for that? Ollie moves his arm and discovers that Diggle has handcuffed him to the table. SERIOUSLY, SO MUCH FAN FICTION. Ollie says he feels like he has the worst hangover of his life, and Diggle says coming from a guy who spent most of his 20s in a hangover, that’s saying something. Um, Diggle, you might want to check your timeline – Ollie was only 22 when the boat went down.
Ollie promises not to try to kill Diggle again, and Diggle uncuffs him as he exposits that Ollie only got half a dose, and though the Count got away, they have the remaining sample of Vertigo. Ollie pushes himself to his feet and Diggle tells him to take it easy: “A near drug overdose isn’t something you just walk away from.” “Neither is Thea,” Ollie says.
Queen Castle. Ollie and Diggle walk in to find Moira meeting with Quentin and McKenna. He asks if Thea’s okay and Quentin tells him they’re there about him: “Last night we got a call from a C.I. Busted up a drug sale between a big time dealer and the Russian mob…An eyewitness put you at the scene.” Ollie says the eyewitness is mistaken, and McKenna says the eyewitness is her.
Ollie says he was trying to get a look at the Count to tell the SCPD’s sketch artist about, “so I paid a lowlife with a Russian accent an obscene amount of money to arrange a meeting.” McKenna asks if he actually saw the Count, and he says no. Moira asks if they’re pressing charges and Quentin sighs big before saying no, but Ollie had better stay out of this from now on. Ollie thanks him for helping Thea, but Quentin clearly doesn’t want to talk about it. It’s the most likeable he’s ever been, and it’s still not very likeable.
“Hope you don’t think I sold you out,” McKenna says. “No, just doing your job,” Ollie says without rancor. She leaves, and Moira starts yelling at Ollie for being reckless. “Mom, the real reason you’re upset is because I told Thea the truth about Dad,” Ollie says. “She never needed to know that,” Moira insists.
“Yes I did,” Thea says, walking in. Man, for such a big house, people overhear things a lot in this castle. Moira tearfully says that she wanted to preserve Thea’s memory of her father, who loved her despite his faults. “I said that I wished you had died instead of him and you still didn’t say anything,” Thea says, also tearfully. “Why?” “One day I hope you’re lucky enough to have a daughter, and you’ll know why,” Moira says. They hug. Aw.
Ollie heads upstairs, telling Diggle his plan for analyzing the Vertigo sample as he goes, but he suddenly gets dizzy and sinks to the ground.
Flashback. A soldier is about to roll a seemingly-dead Ollie off a cliff into a pool of rapids far below. Yao volunteers to do the honors, and Fyers nods his permission. Yao rolls Ollie off the cliff and into the water.
Present day, Queen Consolidated. Ollie’s still wobbly and Diggle thinks they should go to the hospital, but Ollie refuses. They greet Felicity, who tells Ollie he looks like something the cat dragged in: “Not that there are cats in this building. Well, once a cat did get in, but a guard tased it. Smelled like fur and static in here for like a week.” I love you, Felicity. Ollie’s vision is still swimmy and he asks Felicity to step away from the window, claiming he has a hangover.
He segues that into talking about a “buddy” who’s invented an energy drink, which may be the dumbest lie he’s come up with yet. He says he doesn’t want to drink it unless he knows all the ingredients, and hands her the syringe as he asks her to find out where it’s made. She asks why it’s in a syringe. “I ran out of sports bottles.” Diggle just straight-up walks away at that one, and Felicity agrees to do some research. “Your B.S. stories are getting worse,” Diggle says as he and Ollie get into the elevator. “Well aware,” Ollie replies.
Arrowcave. Felicity has pinpointed the source of the water used in the Vertigo – an abandoned juvenile detention center in the the Glades. I am extremely skeptical of this plot development. Ollie prepares to suit up and Diggle tells him he’s not well enough to go out. Ollie says the Count’s about to go citywide with the drug. “I could stop you from leaving,” Diggle says. “Try,” Ollie replies. Um, I’m just gonna go get myself a cold glass of water. Hang on.
Okay I’m back. Diggle holds a tennis ball up a few inches from his ear: “You hit this and you can leave.” Ollie picks up his bow. His vision swims. He puts the bow down. “I’m glad you came to your senses,” Diggle says. “You should always remember one thing, Dig,” Ollie replies. “I don’t need the bow.” Yes, who needs clear vision and a solid sense of balance for martial arts?
At the juvenile detention center, Ollie makes his woozy way up the stairs, taking down half a dozen of the Count’s men as he goes. Meanwhile, a phalanx of cops show up outside, including Quentin and McKenna.
Ollie bursts into the Counts lab, shooting a guy in the face with a dart and throwing another one through a glass table. The lab techs run for it. “Looks like we’re not the only guests,” Quentin says as the cops make their way upstairs.
“You should’ve stuck to your depraved elite,” the Count says. “I am merely providing people with what they want. I am providing a public service!” He’s like half a breath away from reciting “The Walrus and the Carpenter.” God, I want to punch him in the face.
“So am I,” Ollie says, and they fight for a minute before Ollie jams a double syringe into the Count’s shoulder. “Enjoy the fruits of your labor,” he says as he pushes the plungers down. The Count grimaces.
Quentin and some other cops run in and Ollie holds the Count up as a human shield. “Put down the needle or I will shoot you!” Quentin yells. “He deserves this!” Ollie says. “Not according to the law,” Quentin replies. Man, Quentin, continuing to be not total scum in this episode! Unbelievable. He tells Ollie that if Laurel could see him know, he’d know the Hood’s not a hero, but a criminal. Ollie shoves the Count to the floor and runs. “Get him!” Quentin yells, but no cops go after Ollie or shoot at him, for no very clear reason. McKenna picks up the empty syringes and Quentin calls for an ambulance.
We’re Lawyers, Laurel, Inc. “Juvenile delinquent reporting for duty,” Thea says a little shamefully as Ollie walks her in. Ollie says he’ll pick her up at five and Laurel tells him to make it six, since they have a lot of work to do. “Then let’s say seven, just to be safe,” Ollie says. “Is it too late to choose jail?” Thea asks.
Laurel gives Thea a file to work on and Thea thanks her for her help. “We are gonna make an upstanding citizen out of you yet, Speedy,” Laurel says with a smile. Aw. Ollie thanks Laurel as well and says she’ll be a good role model for Thea.
His cell phone rings. It’s McKenna, who is triumphant at having caught the Count. Ollie thanks her for telling him, and she says it was great seeing him. Aw, I like McKenna.
In the hospital, the Count writhes painfully, strapped to a gurney, while a doctor tells Quentin she’s never seen anyone take this much Vertigo and live. The Count’s wheeled away, screaming.
Big Belly Burger. Ollie watches the rain at night because he has a lot of feelings.
Flashback. Yao rolls Ollie off the cliff. He hits the water – and opens his eyes. In some pretty crappy editing, he takes an audible breath with his face still underwater. Regardless, he struggles to shore – he appears to have floated some distance away while unconscious/dead – and checks his pocket. Only part of the map is still there, but directions have been written on it. He has a flashback-within-a-flashback – or a guess, really – of Yao putting the map in his pocket and touching his neck to wake him up before rolling him into the water. “Survive,” he says, and gets to his feet.
Present day. Felicity walks into Big Belly Burger, looking worried. “Thanks for meeting me here. I was nervous to come to your house,” she says. “The thing is, I’ve been debating whether or not to share this with you for weeks. Can I trust you?” He gives her a look. “I’m not an idiot,” she says. “You’ve dropped some fairly ridiculous lies on me, and yet I still feel like I can trust you. Why is that?” “I have one of those faces,” he says. Hee.
Growing serious, he tells her she can trust him, and she takes out the journal Walter gave her. She’s done something to make the List visible without the glasses. Ollie looks through it tensely, but when she asks if he’s ever seen it before he says no. Felicity tentatively tells him where she got it and that Walter thought Moira was hiding something: “He wanted me to look into it, but then he vanished. I think this list might’ve cost Walter his life.” Ollie looks very troubled indeed.
DUN DUN DUN! Okay but this episode was pretty dumb. I’m glad they figured out something to do with Thea, but the Count was super annoying.